- Jan 23, 2020 at 6:02 am #3628393
Updated my profile with my experience- returning to backpacking and need to buy bivy tent/sack, quilt and last, backpack- under $1K. What’s new and what is your gear, spreadsheet? thanksJan 23, 2020 at 9:02 am #3628399Jonathan SkilesBPL Member
Jan 23, 2020 at 3:02 pm #3628430David ThomasBPL Member
- I have through-hiked the JMT 5 times and still want more. The Sierra High Route is on the books for this year. Right now I am really happy with a tarp/bivy setup. I have the Zpacks Pocket Tarp (with doors) and the Borah side-zip bivy. The Underground Quilts Bandit quilt is a good deal and good quality. The pack depends on how much you are carrying. If your base weight is around 10 to 12 I would consider the MLD Prophet. The ULA Circuit is great but weighs more. Hope to see you out there!
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
If it’s your first quilt, plan on a few nights using it before starting the JMT. Both to confirm the temperature rating is going to work for you, but, at least for me, there was an (unconscious) learning curve. Kind of like sleeping differently on a Thermarest than on the mattress at home, but I’ve done that for so long, my body / brain stem remembers how to keep from rolling off a sleeping pad without waking up, even on the first trip of the season. The more I use quilts, the better I sleep – I think because I’m keeping my knees and arms inside of it (if it’s cold, or outside if it’s too warm) unconsciously, without rousing.
Under $1000 means you’re not going to have a 1 pound quilt, 1 pound tent (unless it’s a tarp), AND a 1 pound pack. Unless maybe, not sure your height, but one of those slightly smaller but way cheaper Chinese knock-off tents would work. Dixie of the Homemade Wanderlust Youtube channel puts out good content, mostly VLOGs of her Triple Crown trips, but a few on gear. She has a comparison of the go-to $600 ZPacks Duplex tent versus two cheaper name-brand options:
I think she also compared the Duplex to a Chinese knock-off, but I’ve got to get back to work now. Maybe someone can google that.Jan 23, 2020 at 7:10 pm #3628470
Hammock Gear makes really nice quilts at a reasonable price point in my opinion. I’ve been using mine since 2014 and I’m quite happy with it other than I’m coming to the conclusion that I wish I had a 30° rather than a 20° because I sleep warm.
I like my MLD Superlight Bivy but if I was buying a new one I’d probably replace it with the Borah bivy at ~50% the price. My son has one and while it’s not constructed as meticulously I probably would spend the extra money on the MLD piece again.
I’m in a rough spot with packs. I like frameless packs with minimal hipbelts but only up to around 18-20#. I don’t think I’m planning a longer thru this summer so I’ll probably use one of my two existing packs (Zimmerbuilt Pika and a Mountainsmith Zerk). If I decide to go on a longer hike where my TPW hits 22 or 23# I’d probably try to grab one of Dan Durston’s upcoming packs or maybe a Gossamer Gear Gorilla. I’ve been tempted to try an Atom Packs Atom+ which is similar to an MLD Prophet with a simple frame. I’m also tempted to try a ZPacks Arc or just go full ham on a Seek Outside pack.
Having said all that I’m a fan of ULA’s packs and customer service I’ve owned most of their products and hiked the JMT with a Catalyst a few years ago. They are wonderful packs built sensibly from reasonable materials and have extremely nice side pockets. Unfortunately, I have discovered that I like less hipbelt than they offer on most packs. Also MLD and Zimmer have showed me how comfortable a shoulder strap can be and kind of ruins ULA for me. Perhaps you will like ULA’s shoulder straps better than I do. It might be worth a shot…
I wish I could order a ULA pack with MLD straps…
Or, an MLD Prophet with a simple stay like in an Ohm would be uhmazing.Jan 23, 2020 at 7:32 pm #3628477
Re: pack. Will you be carrying a bear canister? (doubtless yes through at least some of the Sierra.) To my mind, a canister affects pack choice.Jan 24, 2020 at 5:26 am #3628507
Yes unfortunately- inside carry, figured my pack can be no less then 40L because of it. I’m strongly aiming sleep, cook, shelter, pack, clothing systems 13-15 lbs. I’m thinking my week canister with food about 17 pounds at most. I don’t want to carry more then 25 lbs for the week TPW then resupply. I have to buy everything gear again and I have a good budget so I can be selective in gear weight and experienced in ultralight techniques. Hoping to find others spreadsheets in their choices of gear. I found one so far. know of others ?Jan 24, 2020 at 5:49 am #3628512
I did not think of the smaller bear canister ! I’ll probably get one instead – I think I can pack dinner freeze dried bought repackaged, cheese, sausage for lunch bar coffee for morning few snacks – less then 2lb daily like 1 to 1 1/2 pounds in the can at night. but it says 4 days in the specks …. ummmmJan 24, 2020 at 5:56 am #3628515
My son used a 55 liter REI Flash backpack at Philmont this year. It’s a good combination of price, weight and capacity. The best part is, you can go into the store and try it out, fully loaded, to see if it fits you and the gear.
I use a Zpacks Arc Haul and it worked well for me. It’s not as durable as some and as with all packs, what works for one person’s body doesn’t always work for someone else.
I haven’t done it, but you can store your food in a 2 gallon Ziploc in your pack and strap the empty canister on top. Put the food in the canister at night. An empty canister strapped on top might not be awkward. Just a thought.Jan 24, 2020 at 6:04 am #3628516
Good idea – heard thos canisters are very hard to carry outside
I’ll checkout the packs thanks
Toying with the idea of a small canister 4 days it says, and fit more food for 7 days but eating 1 lb a day …Jan 24, 2020 at 8:14 am #3628531
Some, like the Bear Vaults, have pointed bumps on the outside that allegedly make it easier for straps to keep it tight. A V strap might help. Hopefully folks with experience will chime in.Jan 24, 2020 at 9:35 am #3628542James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Yeah, bear cans can be a problem, some places they are a necessary evil, though. I wouldn’t get too excited about the size, though. A BV 450, Bearikade Scout, and Garcia Machine will all fit into a Murmur. My normal dry bag is about 13L but I only pack about 8L for a weeks worth of food. Any of the cans will work for a week or less. Once packed, they don’t really take up any more space, well maybe 10ci more, than a full food bag. Just the arrangement will be different…and heavier. Bear cans always weigh a as much as a couple pounds (minus a couple ounces) more than a hang set-up.
Some tricks for packing a weeks worth of food are:
1) The first days food needn’t be in it, you will eat it before nightfall.
2) Pack everything bulk. Do away with as much packaging as possible. Rice, couscous, pastina, oatmeal, preecooked dehydrated beans, coffee, cocoa, crushed potato chips and fritos, precooked dehydrated vegetables, flour, dried beef, jerky (should be chopped up to rather small pieces,) etc.
3) Somethings you cannot pack any tighter such as energy bars, cheese or a bottle of olive oil…intersperse these into the various larger baggies so they can pack around them.
4) Usually you can put your wind screen, and any pots in the can. Pack the wind screen around the perimeter of the can, either inside or out. Pack your cook pot with food and put it into the can, too. They take up little space…mabe a single ci or two.
4) Plan on accessing the can twice per day, once in the morning and once per evening. During the day, you can pack various snacks/lunch in available pockets.
5) ALWAYS close the thing after accessing it. In some areas bears will wait until you open one to come raiding…damn smart critters.
Most of these really only apply to the first day or two. The question becomes what to do with the extra bulk after that.
One of the big drawbacks is that the cans really cannot be made any smaller. DO NOT put any clothing in one, nor your tent. Avoid spreading food odors.
Hmmm…you can suck the air out of a baggie with your mouth, if you don’t know this trick. Seal up all except for the corner (maybe a 1/2inch to an inch.) Push the corner in and you hold the sealed part and it should pucker out. Then simply suck the air out and seal it. (Watch out for your wiskers…don’t ask…)Jan 24, 2020 at 9:50 am #3628543
I have the Bearikade Scout and it’s the best: light and packs very well. Much better than even the Weekender, which ain’t bad. But I can only get 5 days of food in it.
Carrying a canister on the outside of a pack–certainly a full canister–seems way too awkward. And unbalanced. But I’ve never done it.Jan 24, 2020 at 9:56 am #3628545
I can hang a bag in JMT without getting in trouble with the JMT police ? I can put half of dinner there and if I loose it I’m still ok …. anybody done this in JMT ?Jan 24, 2020 at 9:59 am #3628546
Something tells me the Bearicade is not JMT approvedJan 24, 2020 at 10:11 am #3628548
Oh yes it is! for sure. But hanging is not. (There may be some stretches where it is…?) But if you have a canister, you can simply tap it with your hand from outside your pack when a ranger comes a calling on the trail to prove that you have one.Jan 24, 2020 at 10:24 am #3628550
Bearikade Weekender and Expedition are specially allowed according to YNP. I think people assume other models are as well.
Wild Ideas FAQ says:
Has the Bearikade been tested with bears?
The Bearikade has been subjected to the ultimate test – hungry bears! The Bearikade passed both captive Grizzly and Black Bear testing in 2000. It also passed machine based standardized structural testing in the same year. The Bearikade has been in field service all over North America since 1998. No food has ever been lost to a wild animal from a properly locked Bearikade. That is a test regimen far more rigorous and meaningful than anyone could possibly simulate in the lab or in tests with zoo animals.Jan 24, 2020 at 10:37 am #3628552
Shelter: I think the best value on the market is the Massdrop X-Mid if it’s in stock. It’s a really nice tent (I have one and also have shelters by MLD, TT, GG, and Golite) and is a fantastic deal at it’s normal price ($200) but some people were getting them on sale as low as $160 – an absolute steal!!!!
Massdrop X-Mid 32.6 oz $200
Other good options:
Tarptent Notch 27oz $314
Gossamer Gear The One 20.6oz $300
Quilt/Sleeping Bag: Good down bags/quilts are expensive but they last a long time (my 0* bag is from 2007, my 20* quilt is from 2010, and my 30* quilt is from 2008). As a female you’ll likely sleep colder than the ratings suggest (particularly cottage makers who rate to “men’s” ratings). I have no idea when you are going so I’m going to guess you need the equivalent of a 20*F bag. I did the JMT in mid September and my coldest night was 24* – I’ve also done off trail trips in the Sierra in late September and early August. You first have to decide if you want a quilt or a sleeping bag. Quilts are lighter, but they take a little bit of a learning curve and adjustment to avoid them being drafty – I suggest doing this close to home and not in the middle of the JMT.
For a 20* quilt for a female, my mind automatically jumps to the Katabatic Swatch as I feel that it’s fairly conservatively rated at 15* (at least for a man), but it’s price point might be hard to absorb in your budget, so let’s look at some more affordable options like the Enlightened Equipment Enigma 10* (mens rating) . A short(length)/regular(width) is $325 and 22.6oz. They also offer custom colors if you want to individualize something.
Enlightened Equipment Enigma 23oz $325
Other good options:
Nunatak Arc UL 10* 23.1ox $440
Katabatic Swatch 22.6oz $485
With a quilt, you will need some sort of head insulation as well since a quilt is hoodless and you will loose too much heat through your head without insulation there. Here are the primary available options I know of:
Enlightened Equipment Hoodlum (synthetic) 1.4oz $60
Katabatic Windom (down) 1.6oz $65
ZPacks Goose Hood (down) 1.3oz $65 (made by Goosefeet Gear)
MLD Apex Balaclava (synthetic) 1.6oz $70
Enlightened Equipment Hoodlum 1.4oz $60
If you want a sleeping bag, you will have to carry a bit more weight but you do get a less fussy system. I wont go into great detail here but will say to look at the Feathered Friends Egret (28oz $409) or Egret UL (27ox $489, the Marmot Phase 20 (29oz $479), Marmot Xenon 15 (38oz $459) etc.
Backpacks: Backpacks are so hard to know what fits and what is comfortable for another person, but here are some to look into. You’ll want something that has room inside for a bear can for the JMT, and there are several excellent choices, ULA has long been the value leader, but with recent price increases, I think the SWD Long Haul 50 might be my choice.
<span style=”text-align: left; color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline !important; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; float: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: transparent;”>SWD Long Haul 50 27oz $265</span>
Other good choices:
<span style=”display: inline !important; float: none; background-color: transparent; color: #333333; font-family: sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;”>ULA Circuit – 36.9oz (stripped) $255</span>
Gossamer Gear Mariposa 31oz $255
TOTAL 84oz $850
You’ll also need a good sleeping pad if you don’t have one. I’d suggest the Thermarest Womens X-Lite or X-Therm. If you don’t have a warm pad, you will be cold at night – don’t overlook your sleeping pad.
Do you have your clothes and other gear? What bear canister are you using?Jan 24, 2020 at 10:43 am #3628553
The Bearikade is approved for the JMT (it’s what I use). It was approved by the SIBBG (Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group) before they were sued by Ursack and disbanded. The Bearikade is not approved by IGBC (Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee) but SEKI does not go by IGBC standards. The Bearikade is also approved by some parks where there are large grizzly populations like Brooks Range and Wrangell St. Elias in Alaska so go figure.
I know SEKI used to use Bearikades as their rental/ loner canisters but I don’t know if they still do.Jan 24, 2020 at 11:00 am #3628556
I’m strongly aiming sleep, cook, shelter, pack, clothing systems 13-15 lbs. I’m thinking my week canister with food about 17 pounds at most.
I think other people have touched on this but I really don’t think a 35-40 liter pack is going to hold 30 pounds of gear unless a lot of that weight is uranium. As a point of reference, I was at about 33# of TPW when I hiked the entire JMT and I was using a ULA Catalyst (65 liters?). To be fair, I was using a ZPacks Duplex which is quite bulky despite it’s low weight.Jan 24, 2020 at 11:08 am #3628557
I can hang a bag in JMT without getting in trouble with the JMT police?
Counterbalanced hangs that fit very specific requirements are legal for a couple days south of MTR, IIRC. I can’t see it being worth it because I don’t want to spend a ton of time finding a branch that meets the specifications and I don’t think it adequately protects the bears from getting habituated to human food.
Ideal scenario is to carry an adequately sized Bearikade. Each size increment up only costs you another ounce or two. You will need an adequately sized pack.Jan 24, 2020 at 11:10 am #3628558
Agree and I m digging the canisters !Jan 24, 2020 at 11:12 am #3628560
If you’re looking for uranium ore (and who isn’t), it’s available on Amazon.
Look, I’m just trying to be helpful.Jan 24, 2020 at 11:18 am #3628561Maria NBPL Member
Mariposa – I highly recommend! I used mine on that trip and fit a Garcia bear cannister and all gear nicely. carries weight on hips like no other lightweight back that I’ve ever used. I’m a smaller person (5’1″) and finding a comfortable pack without “full suspension” was always tough for me. Started using the mariposa more than 5 years ago and haven’t used anything else for 3 season trips.
Tarptent protrail: ($229 new) awesome shelter for the weight – less than 2lbs. if you can pick one up used you can save a good amount.
Bear cannister: to save a few ounces you could use a bear vault. they are allowed on the JMT (one person confirmed with rangers prior to trip) and you can fit a good amount of food in them. I used a Garcia because in my area in Adirondacks that’s the only one permitted besides the bearikade. I saw a ton of people with the bearvault ($80 new) on the trail. No hanging food on the JMT is what I was told.Jan 24, 2020 at 11:34 am #3628563
For me the extra $$$ for a Bearikade is well worth it in terms of weight benefits. I hated any plastic canisters for their weight; was fine with the Weekender (which makes a good stool); and downright delighted with the Scout.
They last forever so pro rate out the cost and it doesn’t seem so horrible. and remember all the money you’ll be saving on not needing motels!Jan 24, 2020 at 11:39 am #3628566
They also rent Bearikades (direct from Wild Ideas) pretty affordably. However, I’d recommend buying one and reselling after you don’t need it anymore. It’s beneficial to have it in advance so you can do a practice trip or two with it in your pack (it’s big, bulky, and awkward) and practice packing food into it. My first trip on the JMT in 2011, I didn’t pack my food into the bear can until the night before my flight – my food wouldn’t fit and I was making late night runs to the store to buy more compact food.
Hanging is not allowed on much of the JMT and I have run into rangers several times that have checked our canisters and permits.
I concur that a 35-40 liter pack isn’t big enough.
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